CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — Austin Peay State University redshirt senior Anthony Campbell recorded the 1,000th point of his career, among his game-high co-leading 20 points Wednesday night at the Dunn Center, as the Govs hammered Berea College 108-53.
Campbell’s 1,000th point came at the free-throw line with 17:01 left in the second half for Austin Peay (3-3), after Berea College’s Deon Banks was called for a technical foul.
He is the 32nd Governor in school history to reach 1,000 career points.
“I’m really happy for Campbell because it’s quite a milestone and distinction, especially the way he’s done it,” Austin Peay coach Dave Loos said. “With what he’s had to fight through and to score 1,000 points I’m happy for him.”
Reaching that milestone seemed a foregone conclusion after his sophomore season, when he stood at 739 points, but the Edwardsville, Ill., native was limited to 10 games in each of the last two seasons after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in each campaign.
Also totaling 20 points for the Govs, who finished the night with five players breaking double figures, was freshman Corey Arentsen – who hit all seven second-half shot attempts, including six straight three pointers at one point, after recording two misses in the first half.
The 20 points marked the first time Arentsen broke into double figures for the Govs this season.
“I’m not surprised with the way he shot the ball in the second half,” Loos said. “He can really stroke it if you give him a clean look and he gets his feet set and squared up. He can make a large portion of his shots and he did tonight.”
In addition to Campbell and Arentsen, junior Travis Betran added 16 and freshman Chris Horton 15, including a reverse slam on a lob from fellow freshman AJ Lynch – who finished with nine assists on the evening. Junior Will Triggs also snapped a recent scoring slump with 11 points.
Berea College (6-3), a NAIA member, had three players score double figures — led by Koty Riley’s 13 points – but for the most part the Mountaineers struggled offensively against the Govs finishing the night shooting only 32.8 percent from the floor compared to the 56.7 percent shot by Austin Peay.
“The last thing we talked about before the left the locker room tonight was it’s not who you’re playing, but how you play the game,” Loos said. “We did some good things, but there were also some teachable moments out there too.”
Next up for Austin Peay is a home game versus Fairfield, on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., in a rematch of the 2010-11 Sears Bracket Buster game played back during the 2010-11 season, won by Stags 76-69 in Bridgeport, Conn.
Austin Peay 108, Berea College 53
Berea College 23-30—53
Austin Peay 45-63—108
Berea College: Trent Maddox 5, Tevin Webster 6, Koty Riley 13, Aaron Ponder 2, Rashad Hayden 2, Dominique Garmon 11, Tyler Huff 2, Deon Banks 12. Totals 21 8-11 53.
Austin Peay: Will Triggs 11, Anthony Campbell 20, Chris Horton 15, Travis Betran 16, AJ Lynch 7, Thomas Greer 3, Chris Freeman 7, Corey Arentsen 20, Herdie Lawrence 2, Joe Harms 5, Matt Hasse 2. Totals 38 20-27 108.
3-point goals: Berea College: 3 (Maddox 1, Riley 1, Garmon 1); Austin Peay 12 (Campbell 2, Betran 3, Lynch 1, Arentsen 6).
Records: Berea College 6-3; Austin Peay 3-3.
Berea (Ky) at APSU Photo Gallery
By Richard Justice
There was a time — and not that long ago — when some of us doubted Michael Bourn would ever be in this position. He’s poised to make millions in free agency as an impact player at the top of the lineup and in center field, and the Nationals and Phillies are among several teams believed to be interested.
If that was all Bourn brought to the table, it would be plenty. In the last four seasons, he has averaged 93 runs, 54 stolen bases and a .348 on-base percentage. Still, in Bourn’s case, there’s much more.
He has one of those happy, infectious personalities that wears well during the grind of a baseball season. If Bourn has ever had a bad day, he has never let anyone know it.
He shows up with a smile and believes in the old-fashioned ideas of working hard and never taking anything for granted. Branch Rickey once said it’s impossible to really know a player until you have him on your team. That’s how it is with Bourn. Some team is going to get a first-rate player, but it’s going to get an even better man.
OK, back to his journey, one that speaks volumes about his toughness and commitment to maximizing every ounce of talent.
For instance, in 2008, his first full season as an everyday player, he batted .229. I know, I know. Batting average doesn’t tell the whole story. Didn’t then. Doesn’t now. In this case, it told enough. Bourn struck out 111 times that season, drew 37 walks and had a .288 on-base percentage.
He was the centerpiece of the trade that sent Brad Lidge from the Astros to the Phillies, and while Lidge was helping the City of Brotherly Love win a World Series, Bourn was fighting his guts out to prove he belonged in the Major Leagues.
When the Astros showed up at Spring Training in 2009, Lance Berkman tapped Bourn on the shoulder one day and invited him to join him for a post-workout round of batting practice in the indoor cages.
Over the next few weeks, they did this almost every day, mostly with Berkman talking and Bourn listening. Berkman had some mechanical suggestions, but the lessons appeared to be mostly mental.
Some of it was as simple as going to home plate with a game plan for both the situation and the pitcher. Some of it was about dealing with failure, that is, accepting that sometimes the pitcher wins the battle.
It’s very tough to get a Major League Baseball player to dramatically change his approach once he has arrived. Regardless of the struggles, he figures he made it doing things one way and would be a fool to change.
That’s especially true in Bourn’s case, because he had the gift of blazing speed. Even if he never became a good offensive player, he had a gift that was likely to keep him in the Major Leagues for a long time.
But what Bourn showed the Astros that spring — and what he has shown managers, teammates and others in the years since — is that he burns to be great. One of the things teammates remember about him is how hard he works and how committed he is to improving every part of his game.
(I have a photo somewhere of a Houston Little League team that had Bourn, Carl Crawford and Jason Bourgeois on it. All three future Major League outfielders played the infield on that team. Yes, they won a state championship.)
In those first years in the Major Leagues, Bourn was not a great defensive player either. But he fielded hundreds of balls over the years, improved both his jump and his route to fly balls. He studied hitters, ballparks, the whole nine yards.
Since hitting .229 in 2008, Bourn has batted .288 in four Major League seasons. He has led the National League in steals three times, is a two-time Gold Glove winner and a two-time All-Star. He was 18th in National League Most Valuable Player balloting this season.
At 29, he’s not as good as he believes he can be. He hasn’t said that, but I know him well enough to know that there’s some part of his game — bunting, throwing, running, something — that he’s committed to improving this offseason.
According to Baseball-Reference.com, Bourn’s 6.0 Wins Above Replacement number was tied with Chase Headley for sixth-best in the National League, just 1.2 points behind leader Buster Posey.
Whether you buy that number or not, there’s no question some team is going to do a really smart thing in the next few weeks when it signs Bourn. That team is going to know it’s getting a good player, but that’s just going to be the beginning of what it’ll be getting.
By Bernie Pleskoff
There’s much to like about St. Louis Cardinals second-base prospect Kolten Wong.
I saw Wong play in the Futures Game last July in Kansas City as well as during the recently concluded Arizona Fall League.
Wong had an outstanding career at Kamehameha Hawaii High School in Kea’au Hawaii.
As well as being a top scholar, Wong played baseball and football and was named the 2008 state co-baseball player of the year. He hit an amazing .660 as a senior. In fact, he never hit below .500 in any of his four years playing high school baseball.
Following high school, Wong’s play earned him a selection in the 16th round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft by the Minnesota Twins.
Deciding instead to attend the University of Hawaii, Wong had an outstanding collegiate career. He earned countless awards and recognition playing in the infield, the outfield and even as a catcher.
The Cardinals made Wong the 22nd overall player selected in the 2011 Draft. He was chosen as a second baseman, the position he played most frequently at the University of Hawaii. He is currently ranked by MLB.com as the No. 4 prospect in the Cardinals’ organization.
For me, Wong is currently an offense-first second baseman. That is not to say he can’t play solid defense. Rather, it is to say that the offensive part of his game is currently more advanced.
Wong is 5-foot-9 and 190 pounds. He bats left-handed while throwing right-handed.
The recently turned 22-year-old Wong is strong and agile. He makes the most of every inch and pound of his frame. However, his physical development may be complete, offering very little opportunity to add much additional weight in the form of muscle and strength.
Physically, Wong reminds me of Chicago Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney. Barney is an inch taller and five pounds lighter. Their games are similar as well.
Wong has a very short, quiet, compact swing. He has very little movement prior to the pitch. Rather, he concentrates on recognizing pitches early and swinging at those pitches he feels he can handle.
Wong sees the ball very well out of the pitcher’s hand. His concentration and patience help allow him to take pitchers deep into favorable hitter counts. That skill has resulted in a very good contact rate.
Having the ability to consistently put the bat on the ball as well as being able to accept walks help profile Wong as a top of the batting order hitter. He should be able to get on base and score runs.
In parts of two seasons of Minor League Baseball, Wong has a composite batting average of .300. He has played for Class A Quad Cities and Double-A Springfield. Wong’s composite on-base percentage is a very strong .363.
While Wong does not possess game-breaking power, he does have enough pop in his bat to hit his share of home runs or drive the ball to the gaps. He will hit enough long drives to require defenses to play deeply enough to avoid giving up the easy extra-base hit.
Wong’s good bat control allows him to take pitches deep and see the pitch long enough to drive the ball exactly where it is pitched. He is rarely out front on pitches, thereby avoiding hitting countless foul balls to right field, his pull side. His eye-hand coordination is another one of his outstanding hitting qualities.
More often than not, I have seen Wong’s base hits come from spraying the ball on a line to all fields or just over the head of the second baseman.
In the Arizona Fall League this past season, Wong hit a very respectable .324 with one home run and 12 RBIs. He stole five bases, but he was caught stealing three times. Like he has done in his Minor League career to date, he had an outstanding on-base percentage of .342.
While hitting for average is probably Wong’s most advanced tool, he also has the ability to run well and potentially steal bases.
Smart and solid running the bases, Wong has good instincts and realizes risks he can take and risks to avoid. This past season he stole 21 bases, but he was caught 11 times. He has the speed and athletic ability, but he needs better base-stealing technique. He has to refine his ability to “read” pitchers.
Defensively, Wong is probably Major League average at second base. That’s the only position I’ve seen him play.
In the Arizona Fall League, Wong had 94 chances at second base and made three errors.
Wong may “think” too much on defense as opposed to acting on his instincts and reacting naturally.
His first step is rather slow to both sides, impacting his overall range. In addition, he has a bit of a delay coming in on short-hop grounders in front of him.
I have seen a strong and accurate arm as well as good footwork on the turn of the double play.
Some scouts I have spoken with think he may be best suited as a center fielder or catcher. To the contrary, while I don’t think he’ll become Robbie Alomar, I do think he will continue to improve as a second baseman. I would not change his position at this time.
Of the players I saw this past fall in Arizona, Wong was among a handful I felt were closest to finishing their baseball skill development. He may, indeed, find himself in St. Louis before the 2013 season concludes.
Wong could prove to be a good table-setter at the top of the order for the Cardinals’ power hitters.
Players like Kolten Wong, with the ability to make contact, hit for high average, bunt, accept walks and execute the hit-and-run provide the impetus for the main objective of the game — scoring runs.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — This week the Tennessee Titans (4-7) play their second of three consecutive games against AFC South opponents, as they host the division-leading Houston Texans (10-1). Kickoff at LP Field (capacity 69,143) is scheduled for noon CT on Sunday, Dec. 2.
The clubs played their first of two annual contests on Sept. 30 at Reliant Stadium. The Texans prevailed by a final score of 38-14, despite 141 rushing yards by Titans running back Chris Johnson—his first of four 100-yard efforts over the last eight games.
The Titans were forced to play the majority of the contest without starting quarterback Jake Locker, who suffered a left shoulder injury on the team’s second offensive series. Matt Hasselbeck stepped in and passed for 193 yards and a pair of touchdown passes. However, the Titans were unable to overcome three costly turnovers that the Texans turned into 17 total points.
This week’s game will be televised regionally on CBS, including Nashville affiliate WTVF NewsChannel 5. Kevin Harlan will handle play-by-play duties while Solomon Wilcots provides analysis.
The Titans Radio Network, including Nashville flagship 104.5 The Zone, will broadcast the game across the Mid-South with the “Voice of the Titans” Mike Keith, color commentator Frank Wycheck, sideline reporter Cody Allison and gameday host Larry Stone.
The Titans visited the Jacksonville last week and lost to the Jaguars by a final score of 24-19. Despite throwing an interception on his first pass attempt of the game, Jacksonville quarterback Chad Henne went on to complete 17 of 26 passes for 261 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the win. Henne, who was starting for the first time in a Jaguars uniform, helped end the team’s seven-game losing skid.
The Titans defense managed seven sacks in the contest, the most by the team since the 2008 season opener (Sept. 7, 2008 vs. Jacksonville). Rookie linebacker Zach Brown led the way with two sacks, and the team received one sack each from linebacker Akeem Ayers, safety Michael Griffin, defensive end Kamerion Wimbley and defensive tackles Jurrell Casey and Karl Klug.
On offense, Titans quarterback Jake Locker, who made his sixth start of the season, completed 23 of 40 passes for 261 yards, one touchdown and a pair of late interceptions. He found wide receiver Kenny Britt for a six-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.
Other than Britt’s touchdown, the team’s remaining 13 points were scored by Rob Bironas, who made four of five field goal attempts and an extra point.
The Texans, who are tied with the Atlanta Falcons (10-1) for the NFL’s best record, will have 10 days to prepare for the Titans. Last week they visited Detroit on Thanksgiving and escaped with a 34-31 overtime victory—their fifth consecutive win and their second overtime win in five days. In their previous game, they defeated the Jaguars 43-37 in extra time.
Against the Lions, Shayne Graham’s game-winning 32-yard field goal capped a day in which Arian Foster ran for 102 yards and two touchdowns; Matt Schaub passed for 315 yards and a score; Andre Johnson had 188 receiving yards; and J.J. Watt had three sacks.
U.S. MARINE CORPS RESERVE “TOYS FOR TOTS” DRIVE
Prior to the game, fans are encouraged to participate in the annual U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots Drive. New, unwrapped toys can be dropped off with members of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve stationed outside of the gates at LP Field. All toys collected during the drive will be used in the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program and distributed to children in Middle Tennessee.
Kenwood rolled to a 73-49 District 10-AAA victory over Rossivew last night at Kenwood High.
Maleek Hall led the way for Kenwood with 17 points, Guy Stanford added 15 and Daniel Norl chipped in 11.
Hall hit four for behind the 3-point line, Norl made two and Kenya Mosley added one.
Rossview was led by Axel Magnuson’s 14 points, including three from downtown.
Kenwood led 32-19 at halftime and took a 61-38 advantage into the fourth quarter.
Kenwood 73, Rossview 29
Kenwood 19 13 12 29 73
Rossview 8 11 19 11 49
Guy Stanford 15 Anfernee Lisenbee 8 (2 3ptrs)
Kenya Mosley 4 (1 3ptr) Brandon Miller 2
Trent McLaurin 7 Donterrius Peacher 6
Daniel Norl 11 (2 3ptrs) Axel Magnuson 14 (3 3ptrs)
Maleek Hall 17 (4 3ptrs) Nick Leineweber 4
Zach Gibbs 14 Kris Carson 7
Legree Hairston 3 Julian Thompson-Clay 6
Matthew Norl 2 Aaron Merriweather 2
Rossview at Kenwood Photo Gallery
Northeast and West Creek won their respective District 10-AAA boys basketball games Tuesday night and Montgomery Central earned a non-district win.
Clarksville Academy lost to Todd County.
Northeast took out Springfield 58-34.
West Creek got by Henry County 61-59.
Montgomery Central held off Jo Byrns 50-53
Northeast 58, Springfield 34
Northeast: Will Best 5, Dallas Davis 9, Nick Green 10, Anthony Longstreet 5, James Simpson 8, Darius Brown 14, Kiyundre Felton 3, D.J. Wright 4
Springfield 11 9 8 6 — 34
Northeast 18 9 14 17 — 58
West Creek 61, Henry County 59
West Creek: Jashin Almon 18, Stephon Jackson 3, Davan Jones 7, Jimario Rivers 8, Phillip Smith 15, Sean Wharton 8, Jimarion Pressley 2
Henry County 13 20 10 16 — 59
West Creek 12 15 12 22 — 61
Montgomery Central 53, Jo Byrns 50
Montgomery Central: D.J. Burney 18, Trey Burney 13, Blake Bradley 6, Brandon Hamilton 8, Lamont Smith 7
Montgomery Central 13 12 15 13 — 53
Jo Byrns 16 8 9 17 — 50
Todd County Central (KY) 62, Clarksville Academy 48
Sections: Basketball (Men)
, Clarksville Academy
, Clarksville High
, Featured Story
, Fort Campbell
, Montgomery Central
, West Creek
Rossview and West Creek were the only two District 10-AAA girls high school basketball teams to win Tuesday night.
Rossview beat Kenwood 60-29, while West Creek beat Henry County 65-42.
Northeast lost to Springfield 58-51 in other 10-AAA action
Todd County Central (KY) toppled Clarksville Academy 57-23 in a non-district game.
Rossview 60, Kenwood 29
Rossview: Brandy Claybrooks 6, Kiara Fisher 4, Jemiah Harrison 2, Ashley Powers 15, Dayisha Skelton 10, Cassidy Taylor 14, Janie White 6, Mickey Head 2, Haylee Croom 1
Kenwood: Alonj Thomas 10, Ebony Forbes 5, Samone James 9, Jasmine Johnson 2, Annaliese Osborne 2, Malia Umrani 1
Rossview 18 13 10 19 — 60
Kenwood 10 2 7 10 — 29
West Creek 65, Henry County 42
West Creek: Jamerial Chandler13, Quynerria Davis 2, Ariana Prather 5, Shayla Smith 4, Jazmine Torian 32, Latoya Winters 2, Tyisha Worthy
Henry County 11 9 7 15 — 42
West Creek 15 17 12 21 — 65
Todd County Central (KY) 57, Clarksville Academy 23
Clarksville Academy: Bailey Foote 7, Shelby Chapman 9, Alexa Griffith 3, Carleisha Hann 4
Todd County Central 13 20 16 8 — 57
Clarksville Academy 8 4 5 6 — 23
Springfield 58, Northeast 51 (OT)
Northeast: Michelle Donner 9, Nataszja Freeman 8, Erecha Partis 4, Kaitlyn Ware 2 Ariel Watson 7, Sepe Moore 2, Jazzmyn Simpson 17
Springfield 12 18 6 13 9 — 58
Northeast 13 9 15 12 2 — 51
Rossview at Kenwood Photo Gallery
Sections: Basketball (Women)
, Clarksville Academy
, Clarksville High
, Featured Story
, Fort Campbell
, Montgomery Central
, West Creek
After playing four straight games away from Dave Aaron Arena, the Govs now will play three straight at home and will start with their first-ever meeting with Berea, an NAIA member of the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (KIAC) at 7 p.m. tonight.
Berea comes into the game averaging 93.3 points per game, although the Mountaineers lost at Milligan on Monday.
Forward Tevin Webster leads is shooting 69.2 percent from the floor while averaging a team-best 15 ppg. He is one of five Mountaineers averaging in double figures, including guard Aaron Ponder and forward Koty Riley, bothaveraging 13 ppg.
Berea is coached by John Hemenway, who is in his third season leading the Mountaineers. He previously was head coach at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, S.D., where he made four consecutive NAIA Division II tournament appearances.
What You Should Know…
THE SERIES: This is the first meeting between Austin Peay, a member of the Ohio Valley Conference, and Berea, an NAIA member that plays in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference..
WHAT A WIN WOULD MEAN: The Govs would start their three-game homestand with a victory…they would get back to the .500 mark at 3-3…they would go to 1-0 all-time against Berea College…head coach Dave Loos would go to 1-0 against Berea… Loos would improve to 1-0 against John Hemenway.
WHAT A LOSS WOULD MEAN: The Govs would slip two games under the .500 mark at 2-4…it would be the Govs second straight loss…it would be APSU’s first loss to an NAIA school since dropping a 87-73 decision to then-NAIA member College of Charleston in 1990…it would be Dave Loos’ 314th APSU loss and 367th all-time.
Austin Peay women’s basketball team concludes a three-game road trip when it meets Vanderbilt in a 7 p.m., Wednesday contest at Memorial Stadium. Both teams enter the contest amidst losing streaks, the Lady Govs lost both games at the UTSA Thanksgiving Classic, last weekend, to account for its current two-game losing streak while the Commodores lost a road outing and two games at the San Juan Shootout and bring a three-game losing streak back to Memorial Gym where they are unbeaten in two tries this season. Austin Peay and Vanderbilt do share a common opponent this season – UAB. Austin Peay suffered a 72-54 opening-day loss at UAB while Vanderbilt posted a 69-54 home victory against the Blazers six days later.
LADY GOVS SEASON TO DATE
Austin Peay’s lone win this season has been sandwiched between a pair of two-game losing streaks, including its current losing stretch… the Lady Govs are shooting a respectable 39.1 percent from the field this season, but are allowing opponents to shoot a gaudy 49.5 percent… nine APSU players have played in all five contests and head coach Carrie Daniels has used the same starting lineup in each game… Austin Peay has won the turnover battle in its last three outings and now owns a plus-2.2 turnover margin… the Lady Govs have not won a rebounding battle this season and suffer a minus-12 rebounding margin through five games… seven players are averaging five points per game and the Lady Govs 64.0 points per game is only 2.6 points per game behind last season’s pace.
Vanderbilt is amidst a three-game losing streak, but those losses have come at Dayton (6-0), and on a neutral court to both Virginia (4-1) and Florida State (5-0) – three teams receiving votes or ranked in this week’s Top 25 polls… the Commodores lost SEC Sixth-Woman of the Year winner Stephanie Holzer to a knee injury suffered in their exhibition contest… Vanderbilt has been trying to recover and has not topped the 70-point mark in their last five games, posting a 2-3 mark… junior guard Christina Foggie, who scored 25 points against APSU last season, is leading Vanderbilt with 15.7 points and 3.3 assists per game this season… senior forward Tiffany Clarke, who grabbed a team-best 10 rebounds in last season’s meeting, has grabbed a team-best 7.3 rebounds and is averaging 13.3 points per game.
AN AUSTIN PEAY WIN WOULD…
Be its first road win this season, ending a four-game road losing streak that dates back to last season… snap a 13-game losing streak against Vanderbilt… be its first win against the Commodores since Dec. 10, 1977… end a six-game losing streak at Memorial Gymnasium, dating back to Dec. 3, 1976… improve Daniels’ record to 74-120 overall… make the Lady Govs 427-593 overall since 1976-77.
AN AUSTIN PEAY LOSS WOULD…
Be its fifth consecutive road loss dating back to last season… be its 14th consecutive loss to Vanderbilt, dropping it to 2-15 all-time against the Commodores… be its seventh consecutive loss at Memorial Gymnasium… drop Daniels’ record to 73-121 overall… make the Lady Govs 426-594 overall since 1976-77.
LADY GOVS ADD ST. CATHARINE TO SCHEDULE
Austin Peay women’s basketball team has added St. Catharine College to its 2012-13 schedule in a game to be played at 4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 9 at the Dunn Center. The game replaces the Dec. 15 contest against Christian Brothers which was cancelled due to a scheduling conflict. Austin Peay season ticket holders who have a ticket for the Dec. 15 contest may use that ticket for the Dec. 9 game.
FRESHMAN TRIO EATING UP MINUTES EARLY
The freshman trio of Tiasha Gray (19.2 mpg), Jennifer Nwokocha (15.0 mpg) and Alexis Hardaway (22.2 mpg) have found themselves heavily involved in the Lady Govs first five contests, combining for 282 of the team’s 1000 minutes (28.2 percent). Their inexperience has shown in the early going, as they have combined to score 78 points (5.2 ppg) and grab 39 rebounds (2.6 rpg).
After opening the season making just 16 of its first 30 free throws (53.3 percent), Austin Peay has made a bee-line to the stripe in its last three outings and has made its opponents pay. The Lady Govs have attempted at least 20 free throws in each of those three games and is 55-of-80 (68.8 percent) during that span. The burst has helped the Lady Govs push their season free-throw percentage to 64.5 percent, but still ranks 10th among OVC teams.
Date: Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012 | Tipoff: 7 p.m. (CT)
Location: Nashville, Tenn. | Arena: Memorial Gymnasium (14,326)
Live Stats: www.VUCommodores.com | Live Audio: www.LetsGoPeay.com | ipTV: www.VUCommodores.com
Head Coaches: Austin Peay – Carrie Daniels (Austin Peay, 1996) is 73-120 (.378) in her seventh season as a head coach at Austin Peay. Vanderbilt – Melanie Balcomb (Trenton State, 1984) is 241-96 (.715) in her 11th season at the school and 404-200 (.669) in her 20th season as a head coach.
Series: Vanderbilt leads, 14-2 (VU 6-1 in Nashville) | Streak: Vanderbilt, 13 wins | Daniels vs. VU: 0-2
ATLANTA — Thanksgiving proved to be a little more festive for Pete Van Wieren and his family. For the first time in years, the legendary announcer is cancer-free during the holiday season.
“The turkey is going to taste a little better this year,” the 68-year-old Van Wieren said.
Van Wieren’s life changed on Nov. 4, 2009, when he was diagnosed with cutaneous B-cell lymphoma. It was certainly a cruel twist of fate for the beloved broadcaster, who had retired just one year earlier with the desire to spend more time with his wife, Elaine, and the rest of his family.
It’s safe to say there was a sense of fear and uncertainty when the Van Wierens celebrated Thanksgiving three years ago, just a few weeks after receiving the diagnosis.
“That was not my best [Thanksgiving],” Van Wieren said. “When you get that kind of news, you’re shocked, fearful and apprehensive of what could happen.”
Unfortunately, Van Wieren was in the early stages of what would essentially become a three-year battle. Radiation and medication appeared to kill the cancer in the months following the diagnosis, but when the cancer returned in a more aggressive form the following October, he experienced the rigors of chemotherapy. That stood as the most agonizing and painful portion of his battle.
When the cancer returned yet again around this time last year, Van Wieren continued his fight. Fortunately, he was spared the need to undergo more chemotherapy. Medical advancements allowed his last round of treatment to once again come in the form of radiation and medication.
Now, one year later, Van Wieren has regained a sense of normalcy. He served as the emcee in front of the standing-room-only crowd that gathered for Chipper Jones Tribute Night at Turner Field on Sept. 28. The next day he joined Dale Murphy, Phil Niekro, Bob Horner, Bruce Benedict and Gene Garber to reminisce with some fans about the Braves’ memorable 1982 season.
And most important, he was able to do this with the confidence that he is cancer-free.
“When you go through something like this, you appreciate good health,” Van Wieren said. “It’s come and gone three times. I know I’m not completely out of the woods, but it feels good to know that I am cancer-free.”
Van Wieren’s battle did not rob him of the strong, recognizable voice that entertained and informed Braves fans for 33 years. Nor did it strip him of the will to live — a trait he might have gained from his 94-year-old mother, who begrudgingly stopped driving only last year.
Though there certainly have been some bumps in the road, Van Wieren has made every attempt to stick to the plan he had when he announced his retirement on Oct. 21, 2008.
While winning multiple bouts with cancer, Van Wieren has found time to continue enjoying life’s pleasures. With stops in Belgium and the Netherlands, he and his wife made the first of what he says will be multiple trips to Europe.
Last year he attended his 50th high school reunion, and this past summer he visited his alma mater, Cornell University, for the first time in nearly 45 years. He is looking forward to the chance to proudly celebrate his 50th wedding anniversary in two years.
“We try to plan our life like normal,” he said. “If things get in the way, we adjust and reschedule. We have not allowed cancer to dictate our lives.”
Van Wieren’s experience has motivated him to begin telling his story while serving as a spokesman for the American Cancer Society.
“I’ve learned how quickly things are changing just with treatments,” he said. “They keep coming up with new ways to battle various forms of cancer. I don’t mind talking to people as a survivor and telling them that their dollars do make a difference. There are people who are doing some great things in the advancement of treatments.”